Chiefs' QB Coach Matt Nagy is Embracing His Second Stint in Kansas City

Nagy re-joined the Chiefs’ coaching staff this offseason after four years with Chicago

The journey for Matt Nagy has been nothing short of unique, from his humble beginnings as a former Arena League quarterback interning for Andy Reid in Philadelphia to being recognized as the NFL Coach of the Year in 2018 while with Chicago.

It's a path that required a leap of faith when Nagy, who had presumably moved on from football, left a promising career in home sales to be Reid's assistant in 2010. The journey that ensued demanded patience, too, as Nagy worked his way through the ranks over the seven years that followed.

That dedication was rewarded with an opportunity to lead an NFL franchise in 2018, and while Nagy's tenure in Chicago came to an end this offseason, his winding path led back to the place where he found so much success just a few short years ago: Kansas City.

"I think in life, a lot of my failures that I've had, I've tried to use those to the best of my ability to make me better," said Nagy, who re-joined the Chiefs this offseason as a Senior Assistant and Quarterback Coach. "You want to use those experiences to make you better in the long run. I feel like I'm still young in this profession, and I want to use my experiences in Chicago to help me be better for our team here in Kansas City. There's a little bit of humility that you need to do this, but I really cherish it because I'm doing it with good people."

Nagy was the Chiefs' Co-Offensive Coordinator in 2016 before taking sole possession of the role the following year. He spent three seasons as Kansas City's Quarterback Coach before that, guiding quarterback Alex Smith through a 2013 campaign that included career-highs in completions, passing yards and touchdowns. That success – for both Smith and the team as a whole – only continued in the years that followed, paving the way for the organizational culture that Kansas City now enjoys. All this time later, Nagy is back in that same role with an opportunity to pick up where he left off.

"It's good to have him back…He's a good person, and I think he's good for that quarterback room," Reid said. "I like the relationship that he has with [Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy] and the other coaches. I think that's important, and that was one of the reasons we brought him back."

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His relationship with Bieniemy, in particular, is significant considering that Bieniemy took over as Offensive Coordinator following Nagy's departure. Bieniemy has thrived in the time since, but he views Nagy's second stint with the team as an opportunity to only get better.

"Nags is my guy," Bieniemy said. "We stayed in contact the whole time he was in Chicago, so it's been great having him back…There are a lot of things that he brings to the table because of that experience [as a head coach]…He [brings] new ideas on how to view things, how to scheme and how to attack. On top of that, he's just a hell of a coach. We just enjoy having him around."

Indeed, Nagy returns to Kansas City with a wealth of experience from his time in Chicago that could pay dividends with the Chiefs. He won 34 games and led the Bears to the playoffs twice, after all, while his final season – a 6-11 campaign – also provided its lessons.

"You have the highs and the lows, and you wear so many different hats. I learned a lot," Nagy said. "Those were real-life experiences in real-life situations – offense, defense and special teams. [I] dealt with players, dealt with the media and [spoke] after wins and losses. It really allowed me to grow, and it puts things in perspective."

It's an outlook that assistant coaches don't often have simply because they haven't had the opportunity to run their own program, but it's something that Nagy – through the ups and the downs – now brings back to Kansas City.

"He had to handle everybody and everything [in Chicago], but he's calm through those situations," Reid said. "I'm sure that's [an area where he'll] benefit us."

Nagy's return also means a reunion with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, whose rookie season took place with Nagy as Offensive Coordinator. Mahomes started just one game that year, but since taking the reins in 2018, no quarterback has thrown for more touchdowns (151), amassed more passing yards (18,707) or – most importantly – led their team to more victories (49) than Nagy's former student.

"I had him as a rookie, and I was able to see him and Alex grow together. [It was a] partnership, and to see him grow from his rookie year from the first game to the playoff loss against Tennessee, I saw that relationship build, and that stuck with Patrick. That stuck with me," Nagy said. "Now, to come back five years later and to see how much Patrick has grown, it's amazing. It gives me chills to talk about it because I also know that his ceiling is even higher, which is exciting for all of us."

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That familiarity and trust with Mahomes – in addition to the continuity it meant for the coaching staff – made bringing Nagy make too much sense, especially in the wake of former Quarterback Coach Mike Kafka's departure for the New York Giants.

It all sets the stage for yet another chapter in Nagy's unique career, and now reunited with the people who know him best, he's enjoying every moment of the journey.

"[I'm] back in the weeds. Instead of 250 people that I'm responsible for, I'm responsible for four," Nagy said. "I'm embracing that, and it's been fun."

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